Hot flashes happen quickly. You could be happily asleep, and suddenly you’re awake, hot, bothered, and drenched in sweat. If you’re approaching menopause or already going through it, then you might know this scenario all too well.
You’re not alone. In fact, 75% of women experience menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. The culprit? Estrogen, or rather, a lack thereof.
Our ovaries usually stop producing eggs between the ages of 45 and 55, and menstrual periods end. When this happens, estrogen levels drop, and other hormones increase in response.
Consequently, the part of our brain that controls body temperature, the hypothalamus, regulates core heat at a much lower point. So, while everyone else is cool, you could be overheating.
While hot flashes are uncomfortable during the day, your quality of sleep could suffer immensely at night. This could leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and unable to concentrate.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though. Check out these six simple ways to help you keep cool and get some well-deserved shut-eye.
#1 Breathable Bedding
Heavy linen, duvets, and blankets will only exacerbate a bout of hot flashes. They’re also a hassle to change if you wake up soaked in sweat. Stick to light bedding instead. Cotton sheets are an excellent alternative to stuffy, synthetic materials.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to check whether your actual bed could be contributing to those restless nights.
Ideally, you’ll want something that supports your body with breathable material to keep you cool. It’s worth investing in suitable mattresses for side sleepers, stomach, and even back resters to ensure the best slumber possible.
#2 Cool and Comfy
Ditch the heavy pajamas for light nightgowns. Cotton is ideal, but as long as you’re wearing something cool and comfortable, you’ll help ward off those hot flashes.
It’s also vital to keep your bedroom well-ventilated and at a relatively low temperature. Open a window, adjust the thermostat, or keep a small fan running – just don’t let it blow directly onto you.
Some chilled water next to your bed is another excellent idea. Apart from being a welcome beverage when a hot flash wakes you up, it also encourages you to stay hydrated.
#3 Avoid Triggers
Spicy dishes are notorious for bringing on the heat. If you’ve ever eaten a fiery meal, you’ll know how it affects your body temperature. This will only make matters worse, so it’s best to skip these foods or at least limit them close to bedtime.
Additionally, try to steer clear of stimulants like alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine at least two or three hours before bed. They keep you up and alert, which isn’t conducive to a proper night’s rest.
#4 An Active Lifestyle
Exercise has countless benefits. Apart from keeping your heart and lungs healthy, boosting your mood, and promoting weight loss, it also improves your sleep quality. It’s best to do physical activity three to four hours before it’s time to hit the hay.
Although exercise doesn’t specifically help with hot flashes and night sweats, it’s an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. This is crucial for consistent and proper shut-eye.
#5 Consider Treatment
If your hot flashes are so severe that nothing seems to help, then you could consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Essentially, the treatment consists of estrogen taken in the form of a pill, patch, or topical cream.
If you’re not a candidate for HRT or prefer not to take it, other alternatives include low doses of antidepressants like fluoxetine, paroxetine, and venlafaxine (Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor).
#6 Practice Mindful Meditation and Relaxation
If anxiety and stress make your hot flashes worse, try incorporating relaxation techniques like meditation into your nighttime routine. Take time out for yourself and use it to unwind. Before you hit the hay, listen to peaceful music, read a book, or do some light yoga.
Off to Dreamland
Menopause is tough. Hot flashes can prevent a decent night’s rest and affect your quality of life. However, there are lots of things you can do to keep them in check.
Breathable bedding, a well-ventilated bedroom, and cool clothing are some practical ways to ward off hot flashes. It’s also best to avoid triggers, lead an active lifestyle, and take time out to relax in the evenings.
If you’re still struggling, then you could consider treatment to help regulate your body temperature. By incorporating these tips into your life, you’ll be able to drift off to dreamland and stay there – in no time.
About The Author:
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart – all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.